For the builders of the 2020 STARS Home Lottery house in Lethbridge, Thursday’s unveiling was about more than just opening the doors to a newly-completed dream home.
STARS air ambulance, founded in 1985, offers emergency medical transportation to critically ill and injured patients, specifically in rural areas.
The 27th home, named Kelly Lynn, was built by Van Arbor Homes, whose owner suffered her own loss that inspired her to support STARS.
“The naming of the STARS home is a very special thing for our company because in 1991, we had the misfortune of having our oldest daughter die because we were unable to get quick medical help,” said Val Lowen, owner of Van Arbor Homes.
“We decided that the first STARS home that Van Arbor built would be a memory to her and then every subsequent house we would name after a child whose life had been saved by STARS.”
Mike Lamacchia, STARS chief operating officer, said the annual lottery helps keep STARS in the air and responding to emergencies. It’s the largest fundraiser the organization holds each year.
“It produces about a third of our budget for the year, so it roughly nets around $11 million a year,” Lamacchia said.
Lowen said this year, Lethbridge’s dream home is a 3,000 square-foot bungalow located in west Lethbridge.
She added the house is designed to embody its prairie surroundings while boasting Asian-inspired interior.
“We wanted to keep it simple but modern,” she said.
“Fully furnished and taxes included, the house would retail around $925,000.”
Andrea Robertson, CEO and president of STARS, said each year the support seen during the lottery grows, allowing the organization to continue helping the public.
“When someone’s life is in jeopardy, it’s your support that trains our teams,” Robertson said.
“It’s the public support that puts the most advanced tools in our crews’ hands and gets the helicopter in the air.”
Lottery tickets are available until Feb. 27. The draw for this year’s dream home will happen April 2.